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Sunday, May 16, 2010

A perfect day--well close to it anyway...

This first picture is one of my favorite that I have ever taken. To fly fish for Carp, in an "ideal" situation" one needs several elements. Feeding Carp in shallow water certainly tops the list. Nothing else matters without the first item. Clear sky with the sun that is more up than down is a huge help. Clear water is helpful and so is a lack of wind. The truth is that most days don't have all the elements, at least not in perfect condition. Last Thursday morning the sky was absolutely clear and the wind was non-existent. It was as if there was no such thing as wind in eastern Washington. I know better than that, but it sure felt like it was true. No wind means no waves on the Columbia. Quite a contrast to two weeks ago. I arrived at the river promptly at 10:30 and was fishing by 11:00. Wading, I was not seeing any fish in the shallows. The fish I was seeing were gearing up for love. The males were chasing the females around; it's kind of like the boys are kissing the girl's butts. Maybe boys of all species are like that when they want something special, I don't know. I saw lots of fish swirling and twirling and lots of fish sunbathing. The tailing fish I did see were all in three feet of water or even more. In fact I never saw a single tail sticking up out of the water the entire day. The water was still and clear. Carp are always skittish but they seemed particularly skittish on this day. I had started with a #8 Carp Carrot. The second tailing fish I cast to turned towards the fly. I stripped a bit and he followed. I continued to strip slowly and he continued to follow the fly. I have seen Carp do this in the past but it is definitely not the norm. We probably did our dance for 20 or 30 seconds until he headed slowly back out to deeper water. Without my fly in his mouth by the way. I finally switched to a size 12 Carrot. This is the smallest I will fish this fly. It seemed to make a difference and I got some hookups. The fish I was able to get connected with were all solitary. They were tailing in three to four feet of water by themselves. I have a new weigh sling and it was fun to give some fish a ride in it. The smallest one I weighed was 12 pounds and as it turned out it took me farther into the backing than the fish that were four to six pounds heavier. More and more I am believing that pound for pound a 12-13 pound fish gives the most bang for the buck. I got a new Waterworks Lamson hat. I tried it out and just like their reels, it works really well. The day was "perfect". All of the conditions were "right". It is hardly ever that way. I caught fish. But now I'm going to whine. Just a little. In three or four feet of water it is more difficult to judge where the fly is and to visually detect the take. I want all the conditions to be right AND I want the fish to be in shallow water so I can see them clearly AND even more importantly I can see them take the fly. I don't think that's too much to ask for. Friday: There were small whisps of clouds in the sky; overall it was sunny, the river had come up, the water was still clear and there was a slight breeze. Again, all the conditions were pretty dang near perfect. Oh, but there was one more thing, there were fish tailing in the shallows. They were tailing close enough in that their tails broke the surface of the water. Dang, I love that! A solitary, tailing fish: Who took my fly. Hell yes! I had been trying the Carp Carrot on really just a few fish and got no love. I switched to my Chocolate Cherry Carp Woollie and they took it. It is just so darn cool to see a tail break the surface, steathily move towards the fish, determine which way he is pointing, cast so that the fly lands on his "dinner plate or spaghetti platter", and wait for the take. Captain Paul Rose, a Carp guide in North Carolina, had asked me for some of my Carp Carrots. I sent him some and he sent me some flies back. A couple weeks ago when I was fishing with John and JP the wind was blowing so dang hard I just stuck with flies I know produce. Though I would have liked to see some fish in 18 to 24 inches of water, conditons were much move favorable today, so I tried a couple of Paul's flies and got a hookup on an olive pattern. Thanks Paul. This fish took Paul's fly. The temperature was in the 80's; it was just a wonderful day; the conditions really were about as good as they can get. There were definitely plenty of fish playing around and only thinking about spawning but there were tailers and that makes me happy as hell. The fish were cooperative and most of them were well into the teens with some going high teens. By the time I released my tenth fish I was sated. Part of that was that my legs were tired, my heel hurt, my hip hurt, and the boots were getting heavier. I wanted to catch another fish but I didn't want to walk anymore and I didn't want to play another one. I just wanted more takes. The take is the premier moment; in all of life the take is the premier moment. I just wanted the takes. I walked back to my Carpwagon very grateful for a tremendous day of Carp fishing and for a good life. (All rights reserved please. Thanks.)